By Li Shouen, CCTV.com Panview editor-in-chief
As the first Belt and Road Forum (BRF) for International Cooperation is being held at the China National Convention Center here in Beijing, CCTV.com Panview gets a chance to talk to Mr. Alpha Daffae Senkpeni, Sub-Editor of FrontPage Africa to share his expectations and understanding of the BRF.
Panview: What are your expectations on the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation?
Mr. Senkpeni: I expect leaders from developing countries to form a framework that will benefit smaller economies and provide opportunities for people from developing countries to better their life. Judging from my understanding, the Belt and Road provides a level playing field for all participants and a platform for everybody who is interested in this initiative to sit in front of the table to bring about economic development.
My country has very solid relations with China and we have benefited enormously from the Chinese aid. I am looking forward to the Belt and Road Forum and it’s a good opportunity to expand our relationship. I hope my country will also benefit from this forum.
As a journalist, my role is to take back the message to my people, so they can have a better understanding of what is happening here in China.
Panview: Better understanding among people is definitely of vital importance for the success of the Belt and Road Initiative, so what’s your opinion on the people-to-people bond part of the “five pillars” of the Initiative?
Mr. Senkpeni: Definitely it’s most important; personally, I think it’s the key point of the Initiative. People-to-people relationship is vital because people are interested in what can better their lives. They will only discuss politics when their life is better.
Panview: How about the infrastructure construction part of the Belt and Road that is going on in Africa?
Mr. Senkpeni: The infrastructure construction is very important for Africa. I think China is doing very well in this aspect within African countries. In east Africa, they are trying to connect countries and cities, which is good; in my country, they are providing some aid and constructing some roads, hospitals and schools. And these are things that people can point to and say “these are Chinese staff”. These are tangible connections and these are things China is doing for us. And these are what people want to see.
Panview: Is this Belt and Road Initiative welcomed in Africa?
Mr. Senkpeni: I think it’s a new initiative, people need time to comprehend the basics, the principles and the benefits that the initiative will offer. But, as you can see, we are having a reporting team of 27 members here to cover this Belt and Road Forum. China is inviting journalists from all parts of the world to cover this forum. This is also a good occasion for us to get a better understanding of the Belt and Road Initiative and send back more information to Africa.
Panview: What experiences can African nations learn from China?
Mr. Senkpeni: China and Africa share a common bond of culture and we had similar history background, especially in the past century. If we understand China’s past, we can learn from how China has moved so fast. China is a very good example for developing countries. The experience not only my country but also other African nations can learn from China is the poverty alleviation.
Right now, I think the leadership of President Xi Jinping is proved to be very brilliant not just for the Chinese but also for the world. Countries, especially those with their own challenges can learn from China.
Also I think globalization is the way forward for developing countries. Not just providing aid, but providing opportunities for countries to get stronger economic development is more important.
Panview: So helping those developing countries to “create their own blood” instead of just “transmitting them blood” is more welcomed, right?
Mr. Senkpeni: Helping people develop with their own method, in their own pace and within their own background is indeed very important, and I think that is one thing China is trying to do. Maybe in the next decades, we can see many developing countries picking up useful experiences from China.
(The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com)